Monday, 28 February 2011

Assignment 3

For my assigment I decided to take a trip to the Carlton Bingo Club in Dunfermline with my mother.

A car park is located right outside of the premises, which is good for players with their own means of transportation as it won't put them off coming as they don't have to walk a long distance to get to and from their car.
You have to be a member in order to participate in the game. So you fill out some forms and if  you are relatively young, show some form of I.D to prove your age.
As you enter the you get your membercard swiped by a member of staff at a machine (this young girl kindly let me take her picture at her post at work):

Then I proceeded to a separate desk, to where they issue the bingo books:

Or Bingo boards, which cost more than the paper books, but are more eco-friendly as they run of re-chargeable batteries and saves wasting paper (which I think is a very good design idea):

With this piece of machinery, all you do is tap at the screen everytime a number is called and when you are only waiting on one number the machine will make a "beeping" noise to alert you. This I think tends to make the player more aware of how close they are to winning in comparison to players that are playing with books.
In the main hall, where the bingo playing takes place there is an area where you are able to go and buy meals and hot beveridges which is named "The Court", given its location in the venue I would say it gives people easy access to go and get food and it is well placed:

People get there food either before the main session or at intervals. No one gets it during the main session. Also there is an another area where you can buy alcoholic beveridges:

The Bingo caller is placed at the centre of the room, I think this is because if they are placed here then is will probably give off the best vocal/sound for everyone in the room to be able to hear:
(A bingo caller gave me his consent in taking his picture)

Whilst the bingo caller is shouting out the numbers through the microphone, they are constantly looking at a screen upon which the numbers are shown upon. Also the bingo callers sound rather monotonous. They also say the numbers in a particular way. For example if they were to say the number twenty one they would call out, " two and one, twenty one". They do this for all the numbers. It got me to thinking, maybe they could get a recorded voice to do that job? But then maybe the players like the personal touch of  a person calling out the numbers? Maybe a robotic voice would make it a different experience.
Whilst playing the bingo books, you need a pen or some sort of writing implement in order to "tick off" or "cross out" the numbers that have been called. You can purchase bingo pens in a vending machine right outside the main hall:

In these vending machines in contains what most of your steriotypical vending machines contain the two C's, crisps and chocolate. But this vending maching, is one with a difference, for a pound you can purchase a pen that is especially designed for marking off the bingo numbers. And I am lead to believe that the regulars call this a "dabber".
Before the main session of bingo starts and at intervals there is another type of bingo that goes on and it is known as table top bingo. It is situated at your seat, making it very tempting to all gamblers as there is a slot just beside it for inserting your money. However you are usually playing for less money that you would during the main session bingo:

At the top here you can see a red number lit up. This is the number which is getting called out. This is lit up during both the table top games and the main session bingo. It is a good idea to look at this incase the bingo caller accidently shouts the wrong number or you do not quite hear what number they said. If you needed pound coins to enable you to play this the etiquette was to sit at your seat whilst holding note(s) in the air and the staff came to you. Not everyone plays the table top bingo but those that do are very quiet and concentrated:

The fact that you see the numbers lit up makes me re-think my early thought about replacing the bingo caller with a machine, I do not think this would be a good idea as it seems although you can see the numbers being lit up, I think people enjoy the human interaction they get whilst at the bingo.
I noticed that the staff were very friendly, casual, easy to approach, which made it a relaxed atmosphere when not in play. When in play, people adapted a very serious attitude and no one dared to speak. I think if anyone did it would be seriously frowned upon by other players.
Whilst playing the main session bingo if  you watch the chandiliers above the bingo caller they have lights shining upon them and the colour of the lights change depending on what the colour of the game you are playing is.
Before the start of the main session they explain the order of which your books have to be in, but they do not explain how to actually play bingo, for that you have to observe and "follow the crowd".
Whilst observing my surroundings I noticed that the probably around 90% of the bingo players are around forty plus, however the gender ratio was around half and half, which surprised me as I thought there would be alot more women that men. Also I would say that from what I seen that most of the people do not seem very concerned about keeping up-to-date with the latest "trends" to them clothing seems to be all about comfort.
At the end of each bingo table there was a couple of plastic bags for putting your rubbish in, which mostly the bag contained the paper of your bingo books. I think this is a good initiative if they intend to recycle the books.
At the interval I sat and I people watched. I noticed that people took their coats and their bags but left other belongings as they went to engage in numerous activites such as smoking, going to the toilet, going to get food or chancing their luck at the slot machines positioned outside the main hall:

It is definitely an on-going gambling enviroment, it seemed everywhere I looked there was an oportunity to dabble with Lady Luck. Left on the tables at break, unattended sometimes, were bingo pens and books ready and waiting for the next game to start. Not all people vacate the hall whilst the interval is in session. Some stay and simply chat with their neighbour or engage in the table top bingo.
When people "shout" when they win there is some disapproving murmering and tutting as some people are close to winning as the may have been waiting on one number but have just missed out and they seem frustrated or annoyed that it wasnt them. Bingo is alot more competitive in some ways than I had previously thought.
Flashing notices on the Big screen at the end of the hall lets people aware of what deals are on offer, things such as Tuesday night's are the cheepest time to go, but because its the cheep night more people tend to go which will make your chances of winnning slimmer. They also have other offers for example if you go on a Sunday afternoon, you get your lunch for free with the purchase of your books.
By the end of the evening my mother had won twice, once she won twenty pounds and the other time she won ten pounds. Myself, however, won only the once but it was for forty pounds. I was rather chuffed to say the least, I think it is fair to say that it has been one of my most profitable assigments yet.

For the other part of our assignment I ventured into Costa's in the Overgate in Dundee. I observed that the etiquette for ordering was that you queued in order of arrival. It seemed to be an unspoken social convention.
After ordering my Iced Caramel Latte, I sat down in a seat making sure I had a good view of the majority of the customers. The first thing that caught my eye is that this place seemed to be where alot of people came to catch up with each other. People would continue talking long after they had finished their beveridges or food.
As I spied around further I noticed that there what appeared to be business men. The reason I thought they were business men was because of how smartly they were dressed and how they were conversing with each other I assumed it looked like some sort of casual business meeting of sorts or maybe discussing a business meeting they had just previously been to and just going over the finer details.
Also the people that were not accompanied by others look in general that they were their for some quiet "me time". Whilst reading a paper or just simply sipping on what they had ordered and watching the hustle and bustle of the sparse crowds pass-by.
The general atmosphere was relaxed and I thought that it may of had something to do with the decor and lay out. As the layout of the tables with chairs was that there was no more than three chairs to a table which to me suggests a rather intimate ambience. Whilst the colour of the decor was rather muted yellows reds and browns, which to me are more relaxing than bright, garish yellows and red which may create a different kind of enviroment.
There was a variety of different kinds of people at Costa's it was mixed age, gender and ethinicity.
Staff seemed to have a certain way in which they approached and spoke to every customer in the same manner, almost robotic like, which made me think that it was possible that they were trained to say certain manditory things such as "Sitting in or Taking away?" and "Is that everything?".  The last line: "Is that everything?", is used, I think to try and entice customers into thinking that maybe they should get something else.
Also they were advertising deals around the shop by posters on the walls and little stands on the food counter to try and catch the customers eye as they are deciding upon what to order.

This assignment made me reflect on little on something that is said in the book "Change by Design" by Tim Brown:

"Storytelling needs to be in the tool kit of the design thinker"

And to me, I find this line to be particularly true because if you do not know about the people's stories that you are designing for, how will you be a successful designer if you do not know what there needs are?
Observing and experiencing first hand, to me, seems a rather key part in being able to meet design needs.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Service Design Tools...

In second year it has been highlighted the importance of co-design and working with other people. I found it rather difficult to rely on other people especially when they are not as organised as myself. But maybe that's just the control freak in me, I do not know.
This site here:

Shows serveral ways in which to aid your design research.
I, myself, have used a couple of these methods, one of my favourites in particular is mind mapping. I use it all the time in my work, as I am a very visual person and this makes it easier for me to learn things.


In todays lecture I particularly liked the quote which described what it is like when you walk down the high streets at disneyland:
 "The main street facades are presented to as as toy houses and invite us to enter them, but their interior is always a supermarket, where you buy obsessively, believing you are still playing"

I think this says alot about our consumerist culture we have all to some extent addapted.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Assignment Two... Peoples Perceptions....

 I paired up with some other fellow classmates. We decide that we would each create our own ink blot and ask people what their intial thought of it was. This helped to show how we all think in different ways. In our group we all independently went our separate ways and showed these images to a variety of people. And then reconviened and collectively discussed our findings.
Here are the Ink Blots that we used:

With this ink blot the responses were as follows:
Landscape, Foot, Long sock, Buildings, A woman, Tractor, A pram, Lines-machinery

In this blot the things that were said are as follows:
Coffee, Trees, Landscape, Little Ailiens, Caterpiller, An elephant, Green splat tree or face.

For this one the reply was:
Cells, Body Cells, Raindrops, A game that they used to play that gives you a birds eye view of the world and armies different terrortories, World from a height, Beach, An arrow, Mould.

And last but not least the feedback for this particular ink blot was:
Giraffe, Burned Fire, Animals, Dog, Fish, Koala bears face, Bumble bee, An ardvark, An Animal "weird looking, thats looking at me."

After these responses, it was clear that everyone has their own unique perception of things. So the next part of our experiment at hand we manipulated one of the above images to try and see if we could get all our participants to see the same thing. Here is the image after we manipulated it:

The thought here was we would adjust the image ever so slightly to see if this was able to make everyone see the same thing. The type of answer we were looking for would be something along the lines of: trees, landscape etc
After all the people that I asked, I got a simlar response from all of them. All answered either tree's landscape, foliage or something to do with sunlight peeping through the forestry.

So we manipulated the image further and added text so try and enforce that everyone got the same idea:

Everyone that I spoke to about this image had the impression that it had something to do with saving the trees or forest, which was what our aim was.
I was pleased witht this result as it just helps you to see the power of images and the influence that they can have on peoples perceptions.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Discussion for Assignment 2....

Today, some of my fellow textiles students and myself discussed the content of "The Rhetoric of the Image" by Roland Barethes. It discusses the three main points about an images. Firstly their is the sort of literal way of looking at it i.e text, slogans etc, then there is a symbolic way of looking at an image (which what your interpretation is), and lastly a non-symbolic meaning which to me suggests more "what you see only" i.e a girl sitting on the ground with a toy in her hand.
     To me the most interesting point out of the three is the symbolic way of looking at an image, as everyone will have the own opinion as to what is going on in the said image. This is why for our assignment we chose to make up ink blots and I am hoping for some exciting results, which show that we all think and see things differently and interpret it in a different manner. But only after the experiment is carried out will I be able to prove or disprove this point.
Even after we had made our random ink blots, we looked at each others, and all of us saw different things in each others ink blots. Although we did notice that once someone said what they could see it sometimes influenced others. This helped us realise that with this experiment we will have to treat all of our participants the same and ask them the same questions and not add our own opinion so as not to influence them in any way which will hopefully keep the experiment kosher.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Lecture Response...

Today I felt that Kate Pickering gave a very insightful talk about her journey as a designer. I think that the majority would be able to relate to the things she was saying.
It also made me think that if I don't start planning what I want to do with design now, I might end up working in a job where I get little or no satisfaction and I do not get any use out of the degree I will hopefully achieve. So essentially there would be little point in me doing this degree course if I am not going to use it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Assigment 1... Snooping Around...

The Johari Window

Known to SelfNot Known to Self
Known to OthersOpenBlind
Not Known to OthersHiddenUnknown
The Johari Window was named after the first names combined of both its inventors.
This “Window” Helps to try and explain to an extent human interaction in these quadrants.
Open Quadrant- explains things that I know about myself and that others know, both factual and emotional.
Blind Quadrant- this shows what others know about me, that I am unconscious of.
Hidden Quadrant- this represents what I know about myself but others do not. Unless you tell them.
Unknown Quadrant- This is when we do not know something about ourselves and neither does anybody else.
This Model of Human Interaction will come in useful when attempting to decipher different things about my partnet for assignment one. In particular I think the Open and Blind Quadrants.
However I feel that with “snooping” within other people’s possession’s however it might give you a slight insight, it will not tell you everything there is to know about this person. And even with making assumptions about certain objects that you spy you can be way off what your instinct thinks about this person.
Looking at people’s things and trying to figure out what they are like, is entirely guess work. However I think that it will become clearer when you discuss with the person about certain objects to help give you a better insight, as there are stories that may go along with some objects.
Such as some things might be borrowed, gifts, sentimental and more.
Evidence in pictures may be tainted as people will on show what they want you to see, not necessarily unloading any proper truths about themselves as they may find this uncomfortable to with a complete stranger.

On the shelf there appears to be what looks like a weight loss book/leaflet. Which suggests to me that the said person is trying to lose weight the now most probably as it is lying out or it is maybe going to get used in the near future.
The weight loss also could highlight conscientiousness when it comes to body image.
However it should be taken into consideration that they might be living with another person or that this item may have been given by a friend or it is meant to be given to friend.
Semi-skimmed milk (rather than say its more fattening counter part whole milk) is lying out on the counter would help support the weight loss hypothesis for the said person to be a present subject matter.
However the disorganised manner in which it appears letters are stored may contradict when I say that this person is conscientious.
If this person is conscientious person I would imagine that they would wear dark colours (possibly mood reflecting) and would dress casually.
Red teapot perhaps a gift? Does not blend in with the rest of the utensils in the kitchen. Or maybe it has sentimental value?
The piece of cake contradicts what I mentioned early what I said about weight loss.
No much of an organisational system when it comes to stationary, which also contradicts my conscientious claim.
Bright colours of things stored on the shelf could suggest maybe that this is a fun person to be around, if these are her possessions and not someone else’s.

Phone on the wall, suggests she likes to communicate with people, which could suggest that she is an extroverted person.
Calendar on the wall suggests that she likes to keep her affairs and events organised and in order.
Ornament on the wall could suggests that she is into crafts and arts.

Here I notice the kettle to be quite a prominent part of the kitchen adjacent to a cup of tea/cofee, so I am assuming that she often enjoys a good cuppa.
Also an assortment of chopping boards suggest that she enjoys to cook, or possible she wishes to learn to cook better.
The red pot on the stove also hints towards the idea of enjoying cooking.
Appliance plugged in and switched on at the wall, when not in use, could imply that she is not particularly environmentally friendly. Or it may just be a coincidence that she forgot or didn’t realise to switch them off before taking the picture.
Celebrations hiding high above on top of the unit, tells me that she likes chocolate but is trying not to give into temptation and is maybe thinking whilst putting them up there, out of sight out of mind.
Putting them in a hard to reach place may also support the weight loss idea.

The cupboard at the far side appears to be filled with books. Since we are in a kitchen and going by the evidence of some of the cooking utensils, I would say that some of it is filled with cookery books which would support my proposition that she is wanting to learn how to cook or to cook better.
A clean sink area could imply that she prides her self with cleanliness and hygiene there is also what looks to be a disinfectant bottle beside the microwave which would support this.
Outside the window, it appears there is some sort of green house which may mean that she is into gardening and plants. There are plants also on the window sill which would aid in defend this argument.

This image here indicates that she likes plants.
I think that the grinder and bowl also assist with the proposal that she likes to cook.
Piece of metal jewellery discarded on the window sill may suggest a lot or little meaning. As if she was washing up she may of taken it off to prevent it from damage or it has just been abandoned and forgotten about.
After meeting up with my partner and discussing our findings, I found it rather interesting how we both managed to make some pretty good assumptions about each other.
For instance, I found it hard to pin point in the photo’s why but I guessed that she did not live alone and it turns out that she lives with her husband and two kids.
I thought that one of her personality traits would be that she was disorganised and was the kind of person that would leave things to the last minute, this was also correct.
I also made an assumption based on the fact I thought in ways she seemed like a conscientious person and that she would be dressed in dull colours, when we met up she was wearing grey and I asked her how she would usually dress and dull colours were her answer.
In addition I guessed that she maybe had cook books in her cupboard I was spot on.
Moreover I assumed that the red teapot was given as a gift as it did not blend in with the rest of the kitchen equipment too well, and that turned out to be a precise hypothesis.
However some things like the cake on the counter surrounded by various different cooking utensils gave me the signal that she maybe interested in baking but it turns out that it was her birthday cake instead.
Furthermore I thought given the amount of plants on the window sill and the greenhouse outside would indicate that she was a keen gardener. It turns out that the plants she was given was a present and she keeps it for sentimental value.
Overall I would say that I have learned that from these picture you can learn a lot about a person from their belongings and their environment. Although I do think that it would be very hard to given an one hundred percent accurate reading about a person, as I have found out from this exercise, it is a guessing game until you get to know more about the person.